The post-‘war on drugs’ era has begun. Prohibitionist policies must now take a back seat to the new, comprehensive, people-centred set of universal goals and targets that we know as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Nation states and the global drug regulatory system must shift to principles of sustainable development that include: public health, harm reduction of consumption and supply, access to essential medicines, and scientific experimentation with strict legal regulation.
To enable this transformation, nation states should drastically deprioritise the prohibitionist goals of the past. They must implement new comprehensive development policies dealing with the root causes of problems associated with illicit drugs.
The ‘war on drugs’ caused the international community to prioritise prohibitionist policies over sustainable development at a terrible socioeconomic cost. As the United Nations Development Programme highlights in the discussion paper excerpted in this report, ‘evidence indicates that drug control policies often leave an indelible footprint on sustainable human development processes and outcomes… [and] have fuelled the marginalisation of people linked with illicit drug use or markets.’
This report recognises that key reforms within the global regulatory system will come from changes at the national and local levels. It highlights that the UN drug control treaties recommend an approach grounded in the ‘health and welfare’ of mankind. Further, it emphasises that human rights obligations have absolute supremacy over drug control goals and as such there is sufficient interpretive scope within the treaties to experiment with social scientific policies that can further global health and welfare.
The world can shift away from counterproductive and ineffective drug policies. The UN General Assembly Special Session in 2016 is a key platform for driving debate. However, the ultimate impetus lies with countries to reform their policies based on evidence and local realities. This report provides a framework for achieving this shift.
- Juan Manuel Santos, President of the Republic of Colombia, 2016 Nobel Peace Prize
- Professor Daron Acemoğlu, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2005 John Bates Clark Medal
- Dr Francoise Barre-Sinoussi, Pasteur Institute, 2008 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine Professor
- Erik Berglöf, Director, LSE Institute of Global Affairs Professor
- Paul Collier, CBE, University of Oxford Professor
- Michael Cox, Director, LSE IDEAS
- Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett, Founder, LSE Marshall Institute
- Professor Gareth Jones, Director, LSE Latin America Centre
- Professor Emeritus Margot Light, London School of Economics
- Professor Eric Maskin, Harvard University, 2007 Nobel Prize in Economics
- Professor Francisco Panizza, London School of Economics
- Professor Danny Quah, Director, LSE Southeast Asia Centre
- Professor Dani Rodrik, Harvard University, 2007 Albert O. Hirschman Prize
- Professor Thomas Schelling, University of Maryland, 2005 Nobel Prize in Economics
- Professor Vernon L. Smith, Chapman University, 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics
- Dr Javier Solana, EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy (1999-2009)
- Professor Oliver Williamson, University of California Berkeley, 2009 Nobel Prize in Economics